|Название||Friendship On Fire|
|Автор произведения||Joss Wood|
|Серия||Love in Boston|
The following day—feeling very un-Christmassy on Christmas morning thanks to a hangover from hell—he’d found himself accepting congratulations on their engagement. He’d tried to explain that it was a mistake, wanted to tell everyone that he had no intention of getting married, but Morgan had looked so damn happy and his head had been on the point of exploding. His goal had been to get through the day and when he had Morgan on her own, he’d backtrack, let her down gently and break up with her as he’d intended to do for weeks. He’d had enough on his plate without dealing with a needy and demanding girlfriend.
Yet somehow, Ivan Blake had discerned his feet were frozen blocks of ice thanks to his sudden engagement to his high-maintenance daughter. Ivan had pulled him into his study, told him that Morgan was bipolar and that she was mentally fragile. Being a protective dad, he’d done his research and knew Noah was a sailor, one of the best amateurs in the country. He also knew Noah wanted to turn pro and needed a team to sail with, preferably to lead.
Ivan had been very well-informed; he’d known of Noah’s shortage of cash, his sponsorship offers and that there were many companies wanting to be associated with the hottest sailing talent of his generation.
Ivan had known Noah didn’t want to marry Morgan...
He’d said as much and that statement was followed by a hell of an offer. Noah would receive a ridiculous amount of money to sail a yacht of his choice on the pro circuit. But the offer had come with a hell of a proviso...
All Noah had to do was stay engaged to Morgan for two years, and Ivan would triple his highest sponsorship offer. Noah’s instant reaction had been to refuse but, damn...three times his nearest offer? That was a hell of a lot of cash to reject. It would be an engagement in name only, Ivan had told him, a way for Morgan to save face while he worked on getting her mentally healthy. Noah would be out of the country sailing and he only needed to send a few emails and make a couple of satellite telephone calls a month.
Oh, and Ivan had added that he had to stay away from Jules Brogan. Morgan felt threatened by his lifelong friendship with Jules and it caused her extreme distress and was a barrier to her getting well.
A week later he’d forgotten that proviso when he kissed the hell out of Jules on New Year’s Eve...the kiss he kept reliving in his dreams.
Not going there, not thinking about that. Besides, thinking about Jules and Morgan wasn’t helping him with this current problem: Ethan was selling his mom’s house, his childhood home and the land that had been in his family for over a hundred and fifty years. That house had been the home of many generations of Lockwoods, and he’d be damned if he’d see it leave the family’s hands. His grandfather had built the country club and was its founding member. His mom had been CEO of the club and estate, had kept a watchful eye on the housing development, limiting the estate to only seventy houses to retain the wide-open spaces.
Think, Noah, there’s something you’re missing.
Noah tapped his phone against his thigh, recalling the terms of the court settlement. Yeah, that’s what had been bugging him...
He hit Redial on his phone and Eli answered. “In terms of the court settlement, Ethan has to give us the opportunity to buy the trust before he can put it on the open market.”
“I don’t remember that proviso,” Eli said.
“If he wants to sell, he has to give us three months to buy the property. He also has to sell it to us at twenty percent below the market value.”
Noah heard Eli’s surprised whistle. “That’s a hell of a clause.”
“We had an expensive lawyer and I think it’s one Ethan has accidentally on purpose forgotten.”
“Then I’ll contact our lawyer to enforce the terms of the settlement. But, No, even if we do get the opportunity to buy the trust—”
“We will get the opportunity,” Noah corrected.
“—the asking price is enormous, even with the discount. It’s a historic, exceptional house on a massive tract of land. Not to mention the club, the buildings, the facilities. The golf course. We’re talking massive money. More than Ben and I can swing.”
Noah considered this for a moment. “We’d have to mortgage it.”
“The price to us should be around a hundred million,” Eli said, his tone skeptical.
“We’d need to raise twenty percent.” Under normal circumstances he would never be making a financial decision without a hell of a lot more due diligence. At the very least, he’d know whether the trust generated enough funds to cover the mortgage. He didn’t care. This was Lockwood Estate and it was his responsibility to keep it in the family.
“Ben and I recently purchased a fifty-foot catamaran which we are restoring and that’s sucked up our savings. We’ll be finishing it up in a month or two and then we’ll have to wait a few weeks to sell it. Even if it does sell quickly, the profit won’t cover our share of the twenty-million deposit. Do you have twenty mil?”
“Not lying around. I invested in that new marina at the Boston waterfront with Levi. I’ll sell my apartment in London, it’s in a sought-after area and it should move quickly. I’ll also sell my share in a business I own in Italy. My partner will buy me out. That would raise eight million.”
“Okay. Twelve to go. Ben and I have about a million each sitting in investments we can liquefy.”
Thank God his brothers were on board with this plan, that saving Lockwood Estate meant as much to them as it did to him. He couldn’t do it without them. Noah ran through his assets. “I have three mil invested. That leaves seven. Crap.”
Noah was silent for a long minute before speaking. “So, basically we’re screwed.”
Damn, his head was currently being invaded by little men with very loud jackhammers.
Eli cleared his throat. “Not necessarily. I heard that Paris Barrow wants to commission a luxury yacht and is upset because she has to wait six to ten months to get it designed. If you can put aside your distaste for designing those inelegant floating McMansions as you call them, I could set up a meeting.”
“What’s the budget?”
“From what I heard, about sixty million. What are your design fees? Ten percent of the price? That’s six mil and I’m sure we can scrounge up another million between us. Somehow.”
Noah thought for a moment. He had various projects in the works but none that would provide a big enough paycheck to secure the house. Designing a superyacht would. At the very least he had to try. Noah gripped the bridge of his nose with his forefinger and thumb and stepped off the cliff. “Set up a meeting with your client’s friend. Let’s see where it goes.”
“She’s a megawealthy Boston grande dame, and designing for her would mean coming back home,” Eli said softly.
Yeah, he got that. “I know.”
Noah disconnected the call and stared down at his bare feet. He was both excited and terrified to be returning to the city he’d been avoiding for the past ten years. Boston meant facing his past, but it also meant reconnecting and spending time with Levi, Eli and Ben, DJ, and Darby.
And Callie. God, he’d missed her so much.
But Boston was synonymous with Jules, the only person whom he’d ever let under his protective shell. His best friend until he’d mucked it all up by kissing her, ignoring her, remaining engaged to a woman she intensely disliked and then dropping out of her life.
She still hadn’t forgiven him and he doubted that she ever would.